A federal judge in Arizona decided on Monday to allow a law that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy to go into effect on August 2. The law, which Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed in April, includes a narrow exception in cases where the life of the mother is at risk, but no exception for non-fatal threats to the woman's health.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law in court along with the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that it violates the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that says states cannot ban abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb. Fetuses are considered viable around 22 or 23 weeks of gestation.

U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg sided with the state and denied the ACLU's request to block the law, ruling that the 20-week ban is just a restriction on abortion, rather than a full ban, because it includes an exception for the life of the mother.

"H.B. 2036 does not purport to ban all abortions past 20 weeks gestational age. Further, the statute allows for abortions up to and including 20 weeks gestational age," Teilborg wrote in his decision. "As such, H.B. 2036 is not a ban on previability abortions, but is rather a limit on some previability abortions between 20 weeks gestational age and viability."

The ACLU plans to file an emergency appeal of the decision immediately to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, the ACLU attorney who argued the case, said Teilborg's interpretation of Casey is "just wrong on its face."

"For almost 40 years, the law has been that you cannot ban previability abortions, and that's exactly what Arizona did," she told The Huffington Post. "We are very confident that the court will see it that way."

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    Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."

  • Talk (Coldplay)

    The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."

  • Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.

  • Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."

  • Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)

    Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

  • We Don't Care (Kanye West)

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."